Liberty in the Belly of the Beast

Rand Paul traveled to Berkeley to give a speech yesterday, where he received a standing applause ( likely becoming the first person to get this reception at CPAC and at Berkeley)

As Carla Marinucci (SFGate) notes:

Cheered by a youthful audience in one of the country’s most liberal enclaves, Sen. Rand Paul – one of the Republican Party’s leading contenders for the White House in 2016 – delivered a scathing rebuke to the U.S. intelligence community Wednesday, calling it “drunk with power.”

And

Paul’s Berkeley appearance dramatized his ability to fire up under-30 voters, the same group that helped put Barack Obama in the White House. Paul, however, delivers a far different libertarian message that government – particularly the agencies that scoop up millions of Americans’ phone-call and e-mail metadata – needs to be restrained.

Paul has worked hard to draw national attention to the growing panoptic power of the surveillance state. One wonders whether this will give him significant appeal to younger voters who live much of their lives through social media, texts, and cell phones. Robert Reich, who attended Paul’s speech, seems doubtful: if Paul “wants to get the youth vote, he has to change his position on abortion and gay marriage.” Perhaps. Paul believes that gay marriage should be left to the states (a position that is no different than Obama’s before Biden forced his hand). As for abortion, I wonder how salient the issue is for the under-30 crowd who will look at their cell phones when they think of what a right to privacy should entail.

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